The LEGENDARY VOICE of Queensryche Talks about his New Album “KINGS & THIEVES” & Breaking the Mold of Predictability…
“ART IS THE FORM OF CREATION, WHERE ONE BREAKS FREE FROM WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING & ARTICULATES SOMETHING THAT IS SOULFULLY THEMSELVES.” – GEOFF TATE has revolved around that philosophy his entire career, & even more so in the spontaneously delivered helm of his new album “Kings & Thieves” (InsideOut Music). He’s blasted the world with a vocal force field for over three decades…achieving prominence with the likes of Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Ronnie James Dio (Black Sabbath), & the Godfather of bellowing pipes – Rob Halford (Judas Priest). The expectations of the heavy metal masses were forever changed, since Geoff’s first recording of “The Lady Wore Black” with Queensryche in 1981, then launching conceptual masterpieces like “Operation: Mindcrime” during the height of the genre. The surging fascination continues with the pungent departure from his signature band of thirty years, as he breaks into solo transformation with new material that is more spirit-rendering than anything he’s ever done. It strays from familiar territory…away from lists & calculated ideals…opening a storm cellar of HUMAN EMOTION that’s not always easily understood, especially by those who have predetermined theories of Geoff’s legacy. As we sit & reminisce over his Queensryche days, & the strength he brought to the band, he chuckles & tells me…“My new intent is to move people away from this…(MAKES A HEADBANGING MOTION)…& get them to use their hips. It’s all about the rhythm & energy of life.”
Amidst chaos, rumours, & friction on both sides of the “Queensryche Debate” – the pragmatic family man remains focused, eager, & staunch…where many others would cower & erect walls. Tate is no quitter…nor is he about to let the success he built many years ago mold the creative arsenal that’s inside of him, right now. Caving to public plight is not realistic – he’s always been that expressive individual to draw HIS OWN LINES in the sand. In a shifting combination of crunchy guitar, rhythmic pulsation, soulful keyboards, & full-frontal lyrics about life, love, & consciousness…the legendary frontman’s potency becomes re-defined on “Kings & Thieves” in a new faradic sum of notes. “They’ve stepped over the line, one too many times…” he belts in the first single DARK MONEY, regarding the post-American presidential campaign. Still engaging interest in a number of socially-convoluted principles, the one thing he tells me he never wants to have to address…is becoming PREDICTABLE. “As a songwriter, you’re always kind of listening to the music that’s playing in your head.” – & according to Geoff, his internal iPod never shuts off. From a framework of experimental tools, rampant flexibility, & dedication to his passions, interests, thoughts, & dreams…he confesses, “Each record, to me, is like a diary of my life.”
The second CD since his self-titled solo debut in 2002, Geoff Tate’s music has moved through a decade of introspect & resurfaced with a more resonantly abrupt vibe…referring to his new album as STRAIGHT-FORWARD, NO-NONSENSE ROCK. His charismatic fluency is again brought to life…not only with the structured elements of good songwriting & exceptional sax playing, but also in the full dynamics of how it can be performed on the stage. With help from Seattle friends & long-time collaborators Kelly Gray (producer/engineer for Queensryche, Candlebox, Dokken, & Nevermore), Randy Gane (Michigan-born keyboardist & co-founder of Tate’s first progressive act “Myth”), & Jason Ames (who performed guitar, keyboards, & backing vocals with Queensryche during 2009-2011)…they’ve managed to capture all the tension-building facets of the human domain & channel them into an extremely raw gamut of songs. “Chaos is the place where creativity begins,” Tate comments, “this is my first experience with a spontaneous album…it’s liberating! Once you start analyzing things, & trying to intellectualize what the music is…you tend to lose the passion & intensity of it all.”
“I never regret anything musically…it’s all part of the necessary growth, in order to get you to the next song.” – GEOFF TATE
Reaching platinum success & critical acclaim with an amazing fifteen albums to his credit, & only ever missing SIX SHOWS in his entire career, Geoff Tate often has difficulty limiting his inventive nature to just eleven tracks. “She Slipped Away” is a continuation of the Queensryche song “Drive”, which smoothly flows into the rifle-pounding snap of “Take A Bullet” – where friendship, loyalty, & mistrust are explored. Through all his lyrical transitions, Tate is still very capable in leading us on a one-of-a-kind melodically dramatic adventure, while tapping into styles that intrigue his own unconventional tastes. Jazz, blues, rap, alternative, even gospel-like interjections can all be identified throughout KINGS & THIEVES…drifting from downright gritty grooves about sex to hauntingly personal ballads regarding fear & vulnerability. Geoff speaks about his new partnership with InsideOut Music, whom he released the album with on November 6th, “I’m really enjoying working with their team of people…they got a real creative team of people…& we’re very happy with the project, so far. Some of my favorite artists, such as STEVE HACKETT (who’s the founding guitar player in GENESIS) is on InsideOut…so that was good enough to get me on the label.” One thing that hasn’t changed with Geoff Tate is the stark energy he expertly crafts into his king-sized voice, leading to a molten chemistry of intellectual solace & aggression.
With music being his non-quantifiable property, & singing his primary athletic endeavor, Tate credits much of what he has learned to celebrated American composer & orchestral arranger, Michael Kamen…who’s vast knowledge of melody & rhythm inspired Tate to reach for some of his most enlightening recording achievements. “It’s all about self-prospective. Music is a very personal journey…not only for the artist, but the audience as well. Exposure & experience is what makes a great artist, but it’s all dependent on how you pick your notes. I’ve never known how people perceive my music…it’s always been a mystery to me. You create it, but people will always hear what they wanna’ hear & reflect on that. It’s different for a musician.” Currently opening the Canadian leg of the ALICE COOPER “NIGHT OF FEAR” TOUR…& pounding his way back to Seattle, then into Texas…Tate has many things on the horizon, including his fourth appearance on “SHIPROCKED CRUISE” (November 27th to December 1st) & an ALL-STAR lineup for 2013. Geoff, Kelly Gray, & Randy Gane will also be joined by ultra-rock musicians RUDY SARZO (Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio), BOBBY BLOTZER (Ratt), & GLEN DROVER (Megadeth, King Diamond, Eidolon) in a celebration of combined power & live performance virtuosity. “I hope we are able to make a record…” Tate says, still in the planning stages for the group, “…that’s the plan, right now. Kelly & Randy, of course, are the two musicians that I’ve grown up with & feel the most connected to musically. We have a great creative relationship that works. Rudy & Bobby – I have known for a very long time, & we’ve always talked about creating music together, but were never able to do it. And Glen…I just picked him because of his rich guitar playing…he’s always impressed me as a fluid, effortless musician.”
“I think…people hear music differently, individually.” – GEOFF TATE
For Geoff, songwriting is just a part of necessary growth…& even at the age of 53, he tells me he’s “still evolving” through the motions of his prolific career. “In the public eye, you are always the target of criticism…but it is an interesting time to live in, watching the patterns of society & how the media affects it.” Through the rigorous economics of touring, & the changing scope in which music is delivered, Tate believes the dimension of many artists have altered – because it’s more physically taxing to effectively manage a career. When questioned about people’s expectations of him hitting the stellar range he’s always been revered for, he had this to say…“Doing it LIVE is definitely possible, doing it back-to-back is definitely possible…but once you start getting into six shows in a row, two-hour sets each night, & travelling from city to city…it takes its toll & it’s hard on your body. It’s like being an athlete. If you had to be an Olympic athlete, & you were expected to win this particular race…& you had to do it eighteen days in a row, each day…I doubt very many people could do that.”
Being ranked as the #2 “TOP METAL VOCALIST OF ALL TIME” (That Metal Show), & headlining a variety of “TOP MALE INFLUENCE” lists worldwide, Geoff Tate’s historical skills are deeply etched into the podium of rock grandeur. It doesn’t matter what style he sings with anymore, there will always be an abundance of listeners…& his retributive energy won’t be a “product of yesterday”. With the 25th anniversary of “Operation: Mindcrime” coming in 2013, & the rights to the band name (that made it famous) still sitting in the courts, the entire situation is often bathed in an endless pursuit of opinionated drivel…which treats many musicians more like MACHINES, than the human developers that trigger our cathartic realism. Tate’s infectious new song “These Glory Days” holds an inspirational truth that resonates well with his audience…
There is a lot in the world that we can’t change, & a lot that we can – the magic is in finding our place, interpreting our role, & letting the world be the world…with music as our soundtrack.
After twenty-plus million in sales with Queensryche, & mocking adversity with a heart-smashing exploratory new release…GEOFF TATE’s soundtrack is far from over.
“KINGS & THIEVES” can be purchased wherever great music is sold. For more information on GEOFF TATE, please visit his website: www.GeoffTate.com